Best of British: Five Weekend Getaways by Car

Gillian Cooper
Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Spring has officially sprung and while suitcases, sunscreen and summer holidays may still be a little premature, there’s no harm in coming out of winter hibernation to have a brief adventure close to home.
We’ve listed five of our favourite destinations below. There’s something to appeal to every budget and taste, from Victorian seaside glamour to get-away-from-it-all hiking in the Great Outdoors.


This picturesque university town is best visited out of term-time, which makes it perfect for an Easter escape. It’s famous, of course, for being the spiritual home of golf; invented here in the 15th century.

These days golfers are spoilt for choice, with 10 different courses to sample in or around the town, including the world-famous Old Course. Less exclusive, but no less grand: the St Andrews Ladies’ Putting Club – better known as ‘the Himalayas’, and its challenging terrain. This wonderful facility welcomes anyone and everyone, regardless of skill.

Enjoying the fresh air? Sports fans should head to the beach next, where the altogether more bracing sea breezes are conducive to some wonderfully weird pursuits, including land yachting (a sailing-meets-motor racing activity organised the mobile outdoor experience firm Blown Away). West Sands was also the setting for one of the most iconic sporting movie scenes ever made – the barefoot training run at the beginning of Chariots of Fire.


For history buffs there can be no better weekend away than a trip to Belfast, where the Titanic museum offers one of the biggest draws. Opened in 2012 to mark the centenary of the maritime disaster, the building is an attraction both inside and out. Its eye-catching exterior takes inspiration from two ships being built side-by-side in the Harland & Wolff shipyards, while inside visitors are treated to the full story of the sinking, from the boat’s inception and a stunning recreation of cabins on board, to searches of the seabed looking for the wreck.

Set aside at least half a day to take in the Titanic museum, before heading over to Crumlin Road Gaol (better known as ‘the Crum’) – the only Victorian-era prison remaining in Ireland and now open to the public for tours, concerts and events. A 70-minute guided walk around the site takes in the tunnel that connects the gaol to the courthouse, gives a taste of what prison life was like on C-Wing, and offers a glimpse into the Condemned Man's Cell where 17 men spent their last days before being executed.


For some peace and quiet the Peak District could be just the ticket. This National Park in Derbyshire boasts one of the country’s most iconic landscapes – with opportunities to hike over hills, moors and mountains, or simply put your picnic blanket down and your feet up on the riverbank.

Popular routes include a circular walk taking in the top of Mam Tor, before striking out on easy footpaths along an undulating ridge to Lose Hill. Follow the Tissington Trail, which is well surfaced throughout and, for much of the way, occupies an old railway track. It is also popular with cyclists and runs from Parsley Hay to Ashbourne.

The area has some decent pubs to reward your efforts at the end of each day, with The Inn at the Devonshire Arms in Beeley being a firm favourite. Located on the magnificent Chatsworth Estate (Chatsworth House itself is just a leisurely stroll away), the inn serves tasty locally sourced food and brewed ales seven days a week, as well as overnight accommodation if you decide to extend your stay!


Follow in the footsteps of famous Welsh writer Dylan Thomas by visiting his pretty hometown of Laugharne in Carmarthenshire. The Under Milk Wood creator lived for many years in the Boathouse, set idyllically on the Taf Estuary. Now a museum, it contains Thomas memorabilia and even some of the author’s original furniture. Next to the house is the cliff-top garage he converted into a writing shed, while Browns Hotel is the place to visit for those who wish to pay tribute to his affinity for an alcoholic beverage or two! All Laugharne’s pubs claim Thomas for themselves, of course, but Browns is where the poet allegedly spent some of his happiest afternoons.

Time your Spring visit well and head through for the town’s Laugharne Weekend – an annual music and literary gathering which attracts a mix of edgy musicians and authors, making it one the more interesting festivals on the circuit. This year it takes place between 5th and 7th April.


We’ve come full circle and are back on the beach for our final suggestion. Far from the blustery east coast of Scotland however, and down in the quaint Victorian seaside city of Brighton. Most major landmarks there today were built by the Victorians in the town’s heyday as a spa and health resort; including the pier, aquarium and Volk’s Railway. The latter is a narrow-gauge heritage track (the oldest operating electric railway in the world) running along a length of the seafront – a perfect way to see the waves if the weather’s not warm enough to sunbathe on the pebbles.

For a completely different perspective, take a trip up the British Airways-owned i360 experience – a giant glass viewing pod that glides gently up to 450ft, offering stunning views of the coastline and city landmarks. ‘Flights’ last roughly 25 minutes and depart every half an hour.

While some of these suggestions for weekends away might require a little pre-planning, others may only be a few hours’ drive away, making them great for spontaneous ‘staycations’ or even an impromptu day out.

Enjoy the break – and be sure to send us a postcard!

Brought to you by UniteProtect, who have launched a new car insurance comparison website for Unite members -


  • There are no comments yet, why not be the first to post?
Post a comment